Healing and stress. Spirituality and illness.

On one of LP/LPP focused FB pages I am a member of, there is much discussion about stress management.

When one is actually diagnosed with a disease, that usually automatically throws them into denial, disbelief and stress. So at the time when you need to be more relaxed, rested and calm, to support the healing process, you end up hampering with your body’s efforts to heal.

The question is then, how does one manage to stay stress-free in a stress-inducing environment? When perhaps day after day you see, feel, hear (from you doctors) signs of your disease been there and even progressing. How do you handle those moments, when you think you are doing better, and then to be told that you are actually getting worse.

In my experience it is a process, a journey of sorts. Dealing with the disorder, accepting it and finally maybe even been grateful for it! Getting there took me four years and I am still learning from my disorders.

A New Earth

A New Earth (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is indeed useless to just say – reduce/manage your stress, change your lifestyle. Most people have hard time doing this been healthy, how the hell do you do it being sick?! Surrounded by daily reminders of your disease progressing! I get it! And yet I know from my experience and from experiences of those I have met on my journey, it can happen.

It is almost like giving up, with a sense of acceptance in it. Where you stop fighting your illness and start working with it, learning from it, watching it, managing it and through that you are allowing yourself to see your disease as a part of you, that may or may not stay. At one point I stopped arguing with reality! I accepted that my autoimmune disorders were here, part of me now, and contrary to what doctors say, I believe that they may go away, but then they may not – either way I am okay with it. As soon as I accepted them, I saw many opportunities there, of how to heal, how to deal with it and most importantly of how to leave with it and stop fighting it. I believe in energy, where fighting creates resistance, as I am “fighting” my disease, it will fight back!

“I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.”

― Mother Teresa

When I was first diagnosed I was under so much stress, so many problems at home, work – somehow, my illness was truly a Blessing in disguise, I was desperately searching for answers, anywhere! Thank God I found my way to various amazing authors, such as Eckhart Tolle, Byron Katie, Pema Chodron, Stephen Mitchell, Thich Nhat Hanh and many more….and they slowly started to change my outlook on life.

English: At the Omega Institute, May 2007.

English: At the Omega Institute, May 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think it also helpful that I have found support via a blog I felt drawn to start. I was going through something new and I just wanted to put my experience into words, to reflect and, therefore, to better understand myself. My blog was first private, but after few friends read it they suggested I make it public, so I did. People I did not know started commenting, I had someone to talk to besides my husband, who understood where I was. Often I hear people say that as they start growing and seeing things differently, those around them may not always be supportive or understanding, so my blog was a way for me to connect with others like me.

By the way, if you feel inclined to check it out, you are welcome, but this is my old blog and I am no longer active there since I have switched my focus from writing about spirituality to researching nutrition, holistic healing, and naturopathy. Anyway here is the blog I started about the time I was diagnosed http://presentheaven.wordpress.com/


Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Another interesting aspect of the puzzle is actually making time for a spiritual practice. I literally have no time to even read, but I do spend a lot of time in the car, so over the years I have listened to many authors and it works for me.are so many wonderful teachers out there…we are all so different, at such a different points of our lives, that at different times different authors may resonate with us. For me, Pema Chodron for

There are so many wonderful teachers out there…we are all so different, at such a different points of our lives, that at different times different authors may resonate with us. For me, Pema Chodron, for instance, was way too deep in the beginning, Tolle and Byron Katie seemed easier to follow and to understand. Especially listening in the car, I would just lose them…and so replay was very useful 🙂

We all have such a different paths, meditation is so “popular” now, “learn to meditate!” I hear that everywhere. I have tried that for years and finally realized – my life is not the same as one of my best friend for an instance, who is overall healthy, kids are grown and no longer around, she pretty much has her life back, and so she can wake up early to meditate, not to rush and not be interrupted. In my case – I have an autoimmune condition so I need my sleep to heal, I need to move (exercise) because I love it, and it also helps me heal, I have kids who are with me from 6:30 am (when the little one wakes up) to 10:30 pm when my oldest goes to bed.

So what I am trying to say I guess, is that we have to prioritize our lives in a way that makes us less stressful, not more, doing things that give us joy. Like a walk in a park can be the best meditation for someone who loves nature, walking, and solitude.

In my case, finding time to meditate would actually stress me out. I would put all this pressure on myself to finding the time, and yet, to me, no matter who I read or listened to, meditation was not easy and therefore not that enjoyable, besides the fact that I could not make time for it without sacrificing my much-needed sleep.

That is why authors like Tolle, like Katie, Thich Nhat Hunh work for me, they say in some way or another that it is about living in the moment, making your whole life a “meditation” of sorts. Being mindful, kind, grateful, seeing, connecting, noticing, accepting what is, realizing that “it is” as “it is” and I can not change what has happened, – and that has worked for me!

Am I always able to stay in the moments, be present ? – NO! but as time passes it gets easier, better and I find

English: Portrait of Byron Katie

English: Portrait of Byron Katie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

myself in that state more often than not. Also now, as something is happening that starts to pull me into a stressful place, I ask myself (as per Byron Katie) Is that true?  Did he actually mean that, or was it just a misunderstanding? Is that teacher really a mean selfish bitch, or a person who just needs some compassion and kindness? We take things so personally! The jerk just cut me off on the road! – is that true? (did he even see me? was it intentional? perhaps he is in a terrible urgent hurry, and if I knew why I would never imagine arguing with what he did)……. I really hope this makes sense.

Would I love to one day go off on a week long silent retreat, and meditate my mind of (literally 😉 YES! but until that happens I have to do the best I can to lessen, and not to increase the stress in my life and that means not to live according to someone else’s ideas, but follow my own path.

To your health,

Elena

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Showing 7 comments
  • mmmarzipan
    Reply

    Love this post!

    • Elena
      Reply

      🙂 thank you…I do not ave much time to write, but sometimes I just get inspired by a comment, a conversation or something, and then I can not stop 🙂 lol

  • Holli
    Reply

    Lovely post! I have learned to manage my stress through reading the works of Eckhart Tolle. You’re right, it takes work. I was willing and ready to put in the effort and it opened up a new perspective; one I am so thankful for everyday. Thanks.

    • Elena
      Reply

      Holli thank you! I am so glad you like the post. Love Eckhart Tolle – he was one who got me started about 5 years ago, I honestly an scared to think of where I would be now if not for for The Power of Now!

  • Steve
    Reply

    I’m sure it’s old news to you but I can definitely recommend recent works by Deepak Chopra. Many of his practices are rooted in the Ayurvedic system of mind, body, spirit integration. I sometimes feel that Western medicine is light years behind Ayurveda and comparable philosophical approaches to health and spiritual development.

  • YellowCable
    Reply

    Excellent write up!

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